Greetings, everyone, and welcome to our first Book of the Month selections of 2015. It’s hard to believe we’ve already sped our way through the first month of the new year, but I suppose that’s what happens when you spend all your time with your nose in a book. :)
As in previous months, we at The Novel Approach would like to give you the opportunity to read a couple of this month’s recommendations, on us, so leave a comment right here, and you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win an e-copy of any two of the books we’ve selected as this month’s top reads.
Comments must be received by Midnight Pacific time on Thursday, February 5, 2015. One winner will be selected at random on Friday, the 6th, notified by email for prize delivery, so be sure to leave a valid address in your comment.
Jackie – Poz by Christopher Koehler – “As a parent, this book makes me realize that even as open and honest as I am with my kids, I could be inadvertently hurting more than helping at times. It seems at times that no matter how much we love and accept our children, we can do harm even while trying to protect them. Remy and his family both learned a hard lesson in this book, but I feel this is a topic that has to be covered with our youth.
I would highly recommend this book for any kid who feels like their parents just don’t understand them. I would hope they would get the message that when life pushes us, we don’t always have to push back harder. Sometimes we just bend so we can snap back and be stronger.”
You can find buy links for Poz HERE
Lynn – Return to Me by James Oliver French – “Wow, this story was an amazing read. I had expectations when I started the book but set them aside, one by one, the deeper I read. The complex inner workings of Todd, the main character, is the true focus of the story and kept me fascinated. We see him meet a man while they are both in college, and their relationship blossoms quickly. Still, this is not your typical romance. The author goes places I did not expect, which I appreciate. And there is neither a HEA, nor does it have a HFN. Just putting that out there. You’ve been warned.”
You can find buy links for Return to Me HERE
Lana – Takedown and Tap Out by Cat Grant – “Takedown and Tap Out are character driven, emotional stories. They also give an insight into the world of MMA and what kind of mental and physical resolve is needed to get to the top. I had a love/hate relationship with these characters because I was totally drawn into their lives, and some of their actions made me smile while others pissed me off! LOL. I love complicated characters because just like in real like, nothing is black and white; there’s a lot of gray.
Takedown and Tap Out score a KO and are well worth reading. They will not disappoint!”
You can find buy links for Takedown and Tap Out HERE
Sammy – The Two Gentlemen of Altona by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock – “Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock create amazing characters. Mac and Henry are real, flesh and blood type guys whose dance is captivating and deliciously fun. The foil, which Mac’s solid, curmudgeonly personality creates for the whirling dervish that is Henry Page, is just genius. Quick and witty interchanges keep this novel alive, making its pacing near breathless and the sexual tension between the two men almost palpable. However, the real stroke of genius here is Henry’s shady past. The mysterious Viola and the cadre of “friends” or fellow con artists he hangs out with when in town all lurk in the shadows where Henry religiously keeps them protected, even from Mac.
The Two Gentlemen of Altona is the first in a three part series called Playing the Fool. If this first installment is any indication of the ride we are set to take with this collection of novels, sign me up for the next one in the queue because this one was simply fantastic!”
You can find buy links for The Two Gentlemen of Altona HERE
Jules – Gives Light by Rose Christo – “It’s going to be difficult to sum up my feelings on these books. Part of me wants to be all fangirly and crazy…GIVES LIGHT IS AMAAAAAAAAAZING!!! And part of me wants to be more serious…Gives Light is an important piece of literature that is at once a beautiful coming-of-age love story, and also an extremely thoughtful book dealing with several pressing Native American issues. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a balance between the two.
There are so many fabulous moments in these books, too many to count. I definitely got good use out of my Kindle’s highlighter! I can’t recommend this series enough. Some of the best YA I’ve read in the genre. These books, and these characters, are going to stay with me for a long time.”
You can find buy links for Gives Light HERE
Kathie – The Fight Within (Audio) by Andrew Grey – “Andrew McFerrin again does a great job narrating this story. His gift is that he has the ability to develop each characters’ personality with his voice. Paytah’s life has been filled with disappointments; you can hear it in his voice, not just his words. Bryce has also withdrawn from the world, trying to cope with the loss of his partner. Bryce’s voice grows stronger as he learns to trust and fall in love again. The sadness is there in the beginning, and the happiness is there in the end. And let’s not forget Mr. Grantham. You can hear the sneer in his voice, the snake in the grass whine. Oh, I wanted to stomp on that man’s foot.
Andrew Grey writes romance, and does a great job, but sometimes he plants a seed in his books, a seed of awareness.”
You can find buy links for The Fight Within HERE
Rena – Lessons for Survivors by Charlie Cochrane – “As with the previous books in this series, this book’s perfectly balanced in tone, with darker elements involving murder, an abusive father and husband, and a rejected child are woven neatly together with the lighthearted, witty banter fans of this series have long grown to love and expect. Jonty and Orlando might be fourteen years older from the time they first met, but they still behave like lovesick twenty-somethings, and they still kick each other’s shins in warning or as punishment, if not call each other names, with a great deal of affection. They throw euphemisms around when it comes to sex, but with their maturity comes a good dose of self-awareness that sometimes borders on rueful whenever they try to talk about not just their still-outlawed relationship, but the act of lovemaking. I tend to interpret those euphemisms – and the manner with which they’re used – as something more along the lines of nostalgia, like a keen awareness of their younger, more frightened versions as a kind of a reference point for their current selves. While the act itself has never diminished in passion, there’s a deeper understanding of its significance, considering how far they’ve gone and how the laws have yet to change. While still eager and passionate, their intimacy is also edged with – and enriched by – a certain level of pragmatism.”
You can find buy links for Lessons for Survivors HERE
Chris – Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford – “What drew me into this story are the characters. Rhys Ford has major skills developing her characters and the right story to fit them. I can’t tell you how she does it; I just know that her characters rock, the story flows perfectly, and the end result is a book that I wanted to re-read the moment I finish it.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough because for me, all the elements worked perfectly. If you like the Cole McGinnis series, you must read this book because it’s Bobby and Ichi, after all. Otherwise, grab this entire series because you’ll be missing out on a fantastic group of characters and one hell of a storyline.”
You can find buy links for Down and Dirty HERE
Jennifer – Dreamlands by Felicitas Ivey – “Oh my God, this book. I stayed up way too late reading it when I had to work the next morning, and after I had been sick for days, but it doesn’t matter; it was so worth it.
Felicitas Ivey has created an imaginative, beautiful world where mythology lives on, and an alternate, urban fantasy world for us where sometimes those demons from the Dreamlands cross over into ours. The creatures are fantastic and vivid, the characters are engaging, and the situations are explosive.”
You can find buy links for Dreamlands HERE
Janet – Black John by Amy Lane – “Redemption is a recurring theme in Amy Lane’s books, and it is a nearly overwhelming battle for John, but he earns it. He does good long enough and strongly enough for it to stick. John’s return to Sacramento to make amends and to continue shoring up the walls of his life are a pleasure for the reader, as we visit with our favorite guys again. When John and Galen bring their best to each other, the absolute best part is that it’s not the end of their story. We are already looking forward to Reg and Bobbie’s turn, and we want to see how Jerzy’s video turns out. There is no need to say goodbye. We can soak in the feels for a while longer. This book is a fabulous addition to the Johnnies universe. I will re-read it often and cannot recommend it strongly enough to anyone who enjoys reveling in a love story that is so much more!”
You can find buy links for Black John HERE
Lisa – Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk – “With a brilliance I’ve come to rely upon with each new submission, Jordan L. Hawk has delivered another winning novel and has made me an immediate fan of her new Spirits series. Restless Spirits is a Gothic Horror novel in which the setting is as alive and integral to the plot as are the characters, their relationship to one another, and a malevolent spirit that imprisons them within its own hell.
One of the things that stood out for me as I started this book is that it wasn’t until a fair ways into it that the time in which the story takes place is firmly established. This is a Gaslight novel, but I’ll just throw out there for those readers who don’t usually gravitate toward Historical fiction: though Restless Spirits is set in the past, there is nothing within its pages that should dissuade you from reading it.”
You can find buy links for Restless Spirits HERE
And that does it for this month. Until next time, happy reading!